2017-04-06 / Front Page

Golf clubhouse price may top $2.7M

$1.9M base bid doesn’t include cart garage, finished basement
BY TIM RIEL


A rendering of the proposed clubhouse looking west from Conanicus Avenue. In the forefront, with lattice walls, is the cart garage. A rendering of the proposed clubhouse looking west from Conanicus Avenue. In the forefront, with lattice walls, is the cart garage. An estimate unveiled Monday night to the town councilors indicated the cost to build a new clubhouse at the golf course will be pricier than expected.

Although no vote was taken, the price tag would be $2.74 million to construct the clubhouse proposed by architect Bill Burgin, which was showcased through a simulated 3-D tour at the council’s Jan. 17 meeting. The administration previously estimated the project to cost $2 million.

The councilors agreed to revisit the project at their April 17 meeting. In the meantime, they will individually mull the 54-page estimate from Farrar & Associates to see where they can cut costs.

“We’re keeping an open mind,” President Kristine Trocki said. “Let us get acclimated to the sticker shock.”

Following Burgin’s presentation in January, the councilors directed the administration to estimate a cost for the 9,050-square-foot clubhouse. According to that plan, the building would be relocated to the north alongside the first tee, while the existing structure would be razed for parking spots. At the entrance, steps would lead through a gazebo into the lobby and tavern, which would connect to a 1,000-square-foot community room that could be blocked off with a retractable wall. The design also included a patio that stretches around three sides of the building. A finished basement would be built into the slope with an exit that leads to an outdoor patio facing west down the first fairway. A masonry chimney and fireplace also would be erected on that side.

Although the basement in that plan was not reserved for any particular use, the councilors indicated it could be retrofitted into more community space in the future. Finally, a 2,500-square-foot garage for golf carts would be attached to the main structure to the east. It would be under a roof but have an open-air concept.

Monday’s estimate, however, put a snag in that plan. Because the councilors were expecting a price tag closer to $2 million, Town Engineer Mike Gray separated certain features to meet that number. According to his report, a base bid of $1.91 million would include the restaurant, community room, cellar and patios. Downstairs would be strictly for utilities, however, and the patios would be at ground level.

The gazebo, chimney, porches and walkout basement are not included in that plan. Moreover, while the lot for cart storage would be paved under the base bid, there would be no roof overhead.

“Now we’re getting the reality check,” Trocki said.

Gray suggested four possible alternates to include with the base bid. They were $109,140 for the gazebo and chimney, $225,556 for the cart garage, $499,064 for the finished walkout basement and decking, and $772,912 for a second floor, which wasn’t part of the initial plan.

Councilman Blake Dickinson questioned why the planning team eliminated golf features, such as the garage, but kept the community room.

“Why didn’t one option remove the common area?” he asked.

In response, Town Administrator Andy Nota said the council’s vote in January supported that 1,000-square-foot room.

While discussing Gray’s alternatives, the councilors agreed the garage was needed for golf operations, while the gazebo and chimney strictly were for aesthetics. As for the finished basement, Gray said it wasn’t something that could be easily incorporated down the road, like the chimney, for example.

Although she didn’t voice support for the complete package, Trocki warned against penny pinching.

“Do we build what we want? Or do we build something in our price range and perhaps not get something that we want? This is a building that will be used for generations,” she said. “It’s an integral building that we have the opportunity to start fresh with. It’d hate to see us skimp.”

Councilman Gene Mihaly agreed with Trocki. “It is a lot of money, but my gut tells me it’s money that we probably should spend,” he said.

Dickinson warned against rushing to judgment. He said a decision at the April 17 meeting isn’t necessarily required.

“I’d like to see us really develop this,” he said. “It’s important that we present it to the voters so it can get passed.”

According to Nota, the councilors could vote as late as May 1 for a referendum to appear on the ballot at June’s financial town meeting. If the councilors approved a $2.5 million project and the bond rates hold stable, it would cost taxpayers about $180,000 annually in debt service, he said. The current operators lease the course at $175,000 per year.

Also, there is $190,000 in a fund earmarked for course improvements. The demolition, which would be done by town workers, could be financed through that money, Gray said.

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